PBS NewsHour's Jim Lehrer to Retire

Thursday, May 12, 2011  |  Updated 11:23 AM CDT
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OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 26: Debate moderator Jim Lehrer speaks during the first of three presidential debates before the 2008 election September 26, 2008 in the Gertrude Castellow Ford Center at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. Both candidates arrived in Oxford after taking part in negotiations the previous day in Washington, D.C. to solve the current financial crisis. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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PBS NewsHour's legendary Jim Lehrer is retiring after 35 years, ending the longest run of an anchor on a national news show.

The 76-year-old reporter was nicknamed the "Dean of Moderators" by CNN's Bernard Shaw for the significant political debates he's hosted and his fair, unaggressive style of moderating. But the familiar face told The Associated Press it was time for something new.

"There comes a time to step aside from the daily process, and that day has arrived," Lehrer said. He will officially step down the week of June 6.

The Emmy award-winning journalist isn't completely leaving journalism--or PBS--just yet. Lehrer said he will continue to moderate a weekly news analysis feature with Mark Shields and David Brooks on many Fridays.

Lehrer hosted the last presidential debate between Barack Obama and Senator John McCain in 2008. There is no word yet if he will continue to moderate big debates in the future.

"NewsHour," an evening TV newscast, will make the transition from Lehrer's retirement by setting up a rotating two-person anchor team.

Selected Reading: The Associated Press, PBS NewsHour, The Washington Post

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